Heart of Health Policy | ACC, ABIM Unveil New Option For Cardiologists to Maintain Board Certification
The ACC and the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) have announced a new Collaborative Maintenance Pathway (CMP) option for certified cardiologists who wish to maintain their board certification. The new option integrates lifelong learning and assessment with the goal of helping physicians stay current in knowledge and practice.
"The new CMP leverages the respective expertise of the ACC and ABIM to create a literal 'pathway' that meets the ongoing learning needs of cardiologists, while also giving patients, the public and other stakeholders confidence that the care provided by their physicians is of the highest quality," said ACC CEO Timothy W. Attebery, DSc, MBA, FACHE. "We appreciate ABIM working with us on what we believe is a win-win solution for cardiologists and the patients they serve."
What You Need to Know to Participate
To be eligible to participate in the new CMP option a physician must:
- Be currently certified by ABIM and not in an MOC exam grace period
- Purchase ACCSAP
- Spend time "engaging" in the topic areas covered annually by the CMP Performance Assessment. This means a physician will need to spend at least seven hours:
- Reading the text, watching/listening to presentations and/or completing practice questions in the Arrhythmias chapter
- Completing all 94 Arrhythmias practice questions and answering at least 70 percent of them correctly to align with current CME requirements (with the opportunity to answer as many times as necessary to achieve that score)
- Take the first Performance Assessment in fall 2019
This year (2019) is considered a "no consequences" year for this new option, meaning a physician will be considered as meeting their ABIM assessment requirement as long as they have participated in both the engagement and performance components of the pathway.
In 2020 and beyond a physician must engage in the learning components and pass the Performance Assessment to be considered as meeting their ABIM assessment requirement. Physicians will have two chances each year to pass the performance assessment.
Based on feedback from cardiologists who expressed interest in a way to focus their study in specific areas over the course of several years, rather than a single test every 10 years, ABIM and ACC began work in 2017 to provide an alternate pathway for cardiologists seeking to maintain their ABIM certification.
A Cardiovascular Disease CMP using ACC's Adult Clinical Cardiology Self-Assessment Program (ACCSAP) for both formative engagement in learning and the demonstration of currency with an annual performance assessment will be available in 2019. For certified cardiologists, this pathway centers on successful engagement with the ACCSAP educational materials in specific content areas each year as a prerequisite to qualify for a performance assessment later in the calendar year on those same topic areas.
A new performance assessment will be available each year, with each covering approximately 20 percent of the field of cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, the breadth of general cardiology will be covered in a span of five years. The 2019 ACCSAP performance assessment will focus on arrhythmias. This means physicians planning to enter the CMP in 2019 can begin to focus their studying on the arrhythmia section of ACCSAP now, with the performance assessment on arrhythmias available in the fall.
It is anticipated that CMPs in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Interventional Cardiology and Advanced Heart Failure, and Transplant Cardiology will become available in 2020. The ACC is working in collaboration with the Heart Rhythm Society, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and the Heart Failure Society of America in conjunction with the ABIM on these efforts.
With this new MOC pathway, ABIM will continue to set performance standards and issue certifications, and ABIM's current MOC program requirements will remain in place. ABIM's traditional 10-year MOC exam and the two-year Knowledge Check-In assessment will remain available to diplomates if they choose not to participate in the CMP.
Similarly, ACCSAP will remain a standalone Continuing Medical Education option as an educational resource in the field of cardiology, regardless of a physician's participation in ABIM MOC.
"Through meaningful engagement with the physician community and professional societies, ABIM is proud to continue the evolution of our MOC program in a myriad of ways to better meet the needs of physicians and the patients they serve," said Richard J. Baron, MD, president and CEO of ABIM. "This new offering increases choice, flexibility and relevance for board certified cardiologists while also keeping a performance standard that gives patients confidence that their physician possesses the current medical knowledge necessary to deliver high-quality care. We appreciate ACC's expertise and partnership throughout this journey to co-create an innovative new assessment option for cardiologists."
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